Kingston Council leader criticises Charito Cruz safeguarding whistleblower

Charito Cruz

Derek Osbourne

Patricia Bamford

First published in News
Last updated
Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

The leader of Kingston Council has criticised a whistleblower who revealed social workers failed to act before the murder of Charito Cruz.

Council leader Derek Osbourne and lead member for children Patricia Bamford issued a statement this afternoon through the Kingston Liberal Democrats office - more than 24 hours after a television report revealed more failures by the borough's safeguarding team.

Ms Cruz, 37, was murdered in front of her baby daughter in September 2011 by boyfriend Asad Niazi, who hit her over the head with a hammer 50 times.

The BBC reported yesterday that social workers had twice received referrals for Ms Cruz regarding concerns for her daughter, but they were ignored.

Whistleblower Olivia Butler, a former interim head of social services in Kingston, told the BBC social workers who changed the records did so "to cover up the lack of action and proper response".

But Coun Osbourne said she should have come forward to Kingston Council sooner.

He said: “I am extremely disturbed that the interim manager, Olivia Butler, who left the council over a year ago, did not come forward and disclose this to us at the time.

"We could then have put her concerns into the public domain and done something about them. "Why leave it for 16 months before speaking out?

"The council is fully participating in the multi-agency domestic homicide review which is currently underway under an independent chair.

"It is tragic that Charito Cruz lost her life and all the agencies concerned will want to learn any lessons arising from this case relating to domestic violence."

Coun Bamford added: “The news carried in yesterday’s report about what happened in September 2011 is dreadful and we have worked very hard to ensure this could not happen again.

"The domestic homicide review will cover any aspects of the case which would improve safeguarding practice in relation to domestic violence and its impact on children.

"The systems we have already put in place are now more robust and our managerial oversight and supervision is much improved.

"We have put in place a considerable number of improvements since September 2011 but need to await the outcome of the domestic homicide review findings, when it is published, about anything that we could have done better in relation to our safeguarding practice for children."

Comments (15)

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3:00pm Fri 25 Jan 13

reesmf says...

Will Kingston's Councillors ever take any responsibility for anything that goes wrong? It is remarkable that nobody has felt the need to resign over this.
Will Kingston's Councillors ever take any responsibility for anything that goes wrong? It is remarkable that nobody has felt the need to resign over this. reesmf
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Fri 25 Jan 13

AlexKingston says...

I find Derek Osbourne's sudden willingness to have Olivia Butler's concerns put into the public domain absolutely fascinating.

...Considering we only found out about Duncan Clarks pay off after an FOI.

...Considering we still don't know what action has been taken against the staff involved with this individual case, and the other cases which OFSTED have alluded to in their report.

...Considering we had to wait from when first Councillors became aware of these latest problems in Safeguarding in May 2012 until July 2012 for the final report to be published.

Problems that OFSTED identified are allegedly problems that were identified as early as 2010 and still hadn't been solved by May 2012!

These two creatures are an absolute disgrace, they have demonstrably failed to do their jobs. It's taken Derek 24 hours to come to speak about this issue, and he the moment to attack the woman who brings this utter shame to the notice of the general public!
I find Derek Osbourne's sudden willingness to have Olivia Butler's concerns put into the public domain absolutely fascinating. ...Considering we only found out about Duncan Clarks pay off after an FOI. ...Considering we still don't know what action has been taken against the staff involved with this individual case, and the other cases which OFSTED have alluded to in their report. ...Considering we had to wait from when first Councillors became aware of these latest problems in Safeguarding in May 2012 until July 2012 for the final report to be published. Problems that OFSTED identified are allegedly problems that were identified as early as 2010 and still hadn't been solved by May 2012! These two creatures are an absolute disgrace, they have demonstrably failed to do their jobs. It's taken Derek 24 hours to come to speak about this issue, and he the moment to attack the woman who brings this utter shame to the notice of the general public! AlexKingston
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Fri 25 Jan 13

SidJames555 says...

A tragic case and a definite failure, but more importantly a tragic case. One suspects that if would be helpful to elected members if their officers did not wait 16 months to tell them key bits of information, but that is a side issue. It is depressing that partisanship will most probably mean that the potential solutions are overshadowed by a debate over the 'creatures' who were in charge at the time.
A tragic case and a definite failure, but more importantly a tragic case. One suspects that if would be helpful to elected members if their officers did not wait 16 months to tell them key bits of information, but that is a side issue. It is depressing that partisanship will most probably mean that the potential solutions are overshadowed by a debate over the 'creatures' who were in charge at the time. SidJames555
  • Score: 0

5:49pm Fri 25 Jan 13

AlexKingston says...

I think the most important thing in this case Sid is that we make sure that the improvements being made in safeguarding are as strong and as durable and as accountable as possible building on the lessons of not just this failure, but the number of others which have occurred too.

I don't think they are, if you could take a step back from downplaying this for the benefit of your drinking mates I would be interested to see how you think the improvements being made in safeguarding are going to ensure that never again, will the non-reporting of officers to the democratic level go completely and utterly unchallenged.

You speak about potential solutions, it's apparent that the utter rot which infects Kingston's political class ensures that the only people coming up with solutions are the same group of people who misled or failed to inform Bamford or Osbourne in the first place!

And I believe Ms Butler claims she reported to her superior, who the council paid an unholy sum of money to wander off and not talk of what he had seen or heard here in Kingston again.

There's certainly partisanship entering this debate Sid, it's people like you trying to defend the likes who have failed this borough by making everything seem like it's fine and in hand. It's not!
I think the most important thing in this case Sid is that we make sure that the improvements being made in safeguarding are as strong and as durable and as accountable as possible building on the lessons of not just this failure, but the number of others which have occurred too. I don't think they are, if you could take a step back from downplaying this for the benefit of your drinking mates I would be interested to see how you think the improvements being made in safeguarding are going to ensure that never again, will the non-reporting of officers to the democratic level go completely and utterly unchallenged. You speak about potential solutions, it's apparent that the utter rot which infects Kingston's political class ensures that the only people coming up with solutions are the same group of people who misled or failed to inform Bamford or Osbourne in the first place! And I believe Ms Butler claims she reported to her superior, who the council paid an unholy sum of money to wander off and not talk of what he had seen or heard here in Kingston again. There's certainly partisanship entering this debate Sid, it's people like you trying to defend the likes who have failed this borough by making everything seem like it's fine and in hand. It's not! AlexKingston
  • Score: 0

7:30pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Beverly RA says...

SidJames555 .
No Sid not creatures, but lib Dems.
is it little wander that that they are now at the lowest ebb in their parties history, I do not think they have the expertise to run the administration, or do they let the administration run them?ether way its not good for residents, Nationally they are way down the polls. and thats not surprising , The voters in Berrylands will soon be able to show them what they think, they will remember that they wanted to close the Library and move the War Memorial, but thanks to the residents petition it was dropped
SidJames555 . No Sid not creatures, but lib Dems. is it little wander that that they are now at the lowest ebb in their parties history, I do not think they have the expertise to run the administration, or do they let the administration run them?ether way its not good for residents, Nationally they are way down the polls. and thats not surprising , The voters in Berrylands will soon be able to show them what they think, they will remember that they wanted to close the Library and move the War Memorial, but thanks to the residents petition it was dropped Beverly RA
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Marple says...

For Osbourne and Bamford to put the blame on the 'whistleblower' is a complete joke.
It has taken them both 24 hours to come up with such a feeble excuse.
The positions they both hold in the Council determines that they are both accountable and should do the honourable thing and resign immediately - if not forthcoming, then their resignations should be called for.
For Osbourne and Bamford to put the blame on the 'whistleblower' is a complete joke. It has taken them both 24 hours to come up with such a feeble excuse. The positions they both hold in the Council determines that they are both accountable and should do the honourable thing and resign immediately - if not forthcoming, then their resignations should be called for. Marple
  • Score: 0

9:38pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Dawnyc says...

This is particularly disgusting, given that Kingston has just merged its Children's Services with Richmond to save money and cut staffing... And they've done so by setting up a company to do it, that's right, it all just got privatised and somehow there's not a national outcry. Children and families will be less safe under this new company, and there is no guarantee of accountability. The directors are being paid very well by taxpayers too. Revolting.
This is particularly disgusting, given that Kingston has just merged its Children's Services with Richmond to save money and cut staffing... And they've done so by setting up a company to do it, that's right, it all just got privatised and somehow there's not a national outcry. Children and families will be less safe under this new company, and there is no guarantee of accountability. The directors are being paid very well by taxpayers too. Revolting. Dawnyc
  • Score: 0

10:22pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Arthur B says...

http://hat4uk.wordpr
ess.com/2013/01/22/e
lm-house-paedophiles
-richmond-council-in
-the-frame/

Kingston has merged its children's services with Richmond. Lord help us.
http://hat4uk.wordpr ess.com/2013/01/22/e lm-house-paedophiles -richmond-council-in -the-frame/ Kingston has merged its children's services with Richmond. Lord help us. Arthur B
  • Score: 0

10:26pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Arthur B says...

Sources close to the Rocks Lane paedophile investigation centred on the Elm Guest House in Barnes told The Slog today that the Fernbridge specialist police unit (now moving rapidly towards arrests) has earmarked Richmond Council employees as key suspects in the case.

Cut and paste previous link to main story. Corruption is rife and safeguarding of children is the least of the concerns. Just as Mr Osbourne only feels fit to target the whistle blower. Another deflection perhaps.
Sources close to the Rocks Lane paedophile investigation centred on the Elm Guest House in Barnes told The Slog today that the Fernbridge specialist police unit (now moving rapidly towards arrests) has earmarked Richmond Council employees as key suspects in the case. Cut and paste previous link to main story. Corruption is rife and safeguarding of children is the least of the concerns. Just as Mr Osbourne only feels fit to target the whistle blower. Another deflection perhaps. Arthur B
  • Score: 0

3:05pm Sat 26 Jan 13

CJT says...

How very tragic but sadly typical that the Lib Dems should react in this way. It was significant that neither Cllr. Osbourne nor Cllr. Bamford was 'available for comment' on the BBC's report when it was issued. They had obviously gone to earth somewhere while they concocted their failed attempt tp blame the whistleblower for not blowing soon enough. They're like a couple of schoolkids caught smoking behind the bikeshed - 'please sir! it wasn't me, sir! it was him - or her!'
The answer to reesmf's question is 'Not if they can help it! They never have and they never will - until the voters of Kingston stop letting them off the hook every time!'
How very tragic but sadly typical that the Lib Dems should react in this way. It was significant that neither Cllr. Osbourne nor Cllr. Bamford was 'available for comment' on the BBC's report when it was issued. They had obviously gone to earth somewhere while they concocted their failed attempt tp blame the whistleblower for not blowing soon enough. They're like a couple of schoolkids caught smoking behind the bikeshed - 'please sir! it wasn't me, sir! it was him - or her!' The answer to reesmf's question is 'Not if they can help it! They never have and they never will - until the voters of Kingston stop letting them off the hook every time!' CJT
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Sat 26 Jan 13

RMcGeddon says...

LibDem councillors: past masters at shifting the blame.....

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=U5ivWvgYa
pI
LibDem councillors: past masters at shifting the blame..... http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=U5ivWvgYa pI RMcGeddon
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Sat 26 Jan 13

drhowardfredrics says...

It's almost always the case that a whistleblower is blamed, victimized, fired/forced to resign and publicly shamed for revealing wrongdoing. It's time for the tables to be turned.

Though, it's also clear that Derek Osbourne, who serves as a Governor at Kingston University, is perfectly well suited for THAT job, since that is how they so often seem to operate towards staff who blow the whistle.
It's almost always the case that a whistleblower is blamed, victimized, fired/forced to resign and publicly shamed for revealing wrongdoing. It's time for the tables to be turned. Though, it's also clear that Derek Osbourne, who serves as a Governor at Kingston University, is perfectly well suited for THAT job, since that is how they so often seem to operate towards staff who blow the whistle. drhowardfredrics
  • Score: 0

2:47pm Mon 28 Jan 13

R Batson says...

A Council leader who doesn't want openness and transparency, is shocking! Particularly so being the leader of the Council. The public have a RIGHT to know what is occurring in its Council, the Authority is accountable to them. For the leader of the Council to criticise the person who brought this matter to public knowledge one has to wonder if he is fit for public office.
A Council leader who doesn't want openness and transparency, is shocking! Particularly so being the leader of the Council. The public have a RIGHT to know what is occurring in its Council, the Authority is accountable to them. For the leader of the Council to criticise the person who brought this matter to public knowledge one has to wonder if he is fit for public office. R Batson
  • Score: 0

4:38pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Patsy27 says...

Members of the council and senior staff want to hear what people have to say only as long as they are agreeing with the official line. Otherwise staff are shouted down and belittled. Anyone raising a concern has to have a thick skin and be prepared to find life made very unpleasant. If you want to keep your job you learn not to question even in a constructive polite way. No-one should be surprised at the Council Leader's inability to do the right thing, it is typical of the people at the top having a different set of rules from the ordinary people at the bottom.
Members of the council and senior staff want to hear what people have to say only as long as they are agreeing with the official line. Otherwise staff are shouted down and belittled. Anyone raising a concern has to have a thick skin and be prepared to find life made very unpleasant. If you want to keep your job you learn not to question even in a constructive polite way. No-one should be surprised at the Council Leader's inability to do the right thing, it is typical of the people at the top having a different set of rules from the ordinary people at the bottom. Patsy27
  • Score: 0

4:51am Fri 1 Feb 13

Beverly RA says...

I hope the residents of Berrylands are reading this Story
I hope the residents of Berrylands are reading this Story Beverly RA
  • Score: 0

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